Battleborn : First Thoughts

When Battleborn came out on the 3rd of May 2016, it seemed like another amazing invention from Gearbox, the creators of the Borderlands series so I decided to pick up the game on the release day. I’ve been playing this game for a few weeks now and it has a playful new blend of the FPS and MOBA genre that is so refreshing and unique. These are my initial thoughts on this awesome game.

The story follows a treacherous warlord known as Rendain and his Jennerit forces that have joined with a destructive alien race known as the Varelsi and have been consuming every single star in the galaxy. The events of Battleborn showcase the battle between a grouping of unique and unlikely heroes against Rendain in their efforts to stop the last star, Solus from being consumed and the galaxy destroyed.

 Unique Characters and their Skills

One of the main draws of this game is the vast array of unique characters that all have their own unique weapons and playstyles that can compliment every possible player of this game. Ever wanted to blast across the field as an Egyptian Solar Goddess? Or play as a Vampire Samurai? This game has a character to sate every appetite. A downside to the default characters and their specialised abilities is that it removes some of the customisation that the Borderlands series was so prized for. But this is such a minor drawback that it doesn’t make a difference just because of the sheer volume of playable heroes, like Marquis. Not only are the current characters epic and unique but more are planned and being released, like Alani the WaterMonk which is an exciting prospect, waiting for new additions to this rag-tag band of heroes.

One of my personal favourites, Marquis was a robot  butler to Phoebe Elizabeth Audelia Hemsworth IV before he was removed from service due to developing some odd programming. He is a skilled marksman and so is one of the most specialised snipers in the game. Equipped with his bowler hat, monocle and super powerful cane rifle, Marquis takes out his enemies from a great distance along with his pet and ally Hoodini.

Player Vs Player Arenas

This game has a variety of multiplayer modes, with more that are being developed and released in the future. I have tried out a couple of these and find them quite fun, if a little different to what I am used to playing. In this regard, it makes the PVP modes a lot more refreshing and enjoyable. From simple Control modes upon which, you and your team of 5 attempts to control three zones, A, B and C, upon which you gain points for zones you control.

Recently I played a match of Meltdown, upon which hordes of minions spawn on both sides of the map and each team has the job of escorting the minions to Chomper altars to appease a Magnus AI. This mode has a lot going on, with buildables being constructed and the enemy team attempting to kill you and so escort their minions to their altar. The first team to 500 points wins the match.

I was playing as a lovely psychopathic witch…thing, known as Orendi and I was doing okay for the most part. However the multiplayer Battleborn takes some getting used to, so suffice it to say I spent a fair bit of the match waiting for a respawn. Although the multiplayer is so much fun that you want to get right back out into the fray. Unfortunately my match didn’t end so well and we were defeated quite crushingly.

Story Mode

The mission to defend Solus and defeat Rendain is carried out through the Story Mode of which you can play solo or with a matchmade team of 4 others upon which you vote for what quest to embark on and what enemies to triumph against. The missions are quite lengthy but it is quite enjoyable due to the twists and turns of the game itself as well as that classic Gearbox sense of humour we all came to know and love in the Borderlands series. The roaming dialogue of some of the playable characters as well as your allies and even your enemies will get you laughing or in some cases sighing with exasperation. However a lot of the in-mission events revolve around tower defence which can get quite dry over time but this game is still quite entertaining.

I also had a chance to play this game with the split-screen mode active and it was a little bit different to what I am used to playing. The screen was not only divided horizontally for our two character screens but also vertically a little bit to the left upon which the important information, such as the mini-map and available lives were presented. This made choosing augments a little difficult as we couldn’t properly read what they were without some effort but we enjoyed the split screen experience for the most part.

Progression

Battleborn has two main modes of progression and they are the Command rank and Character rank. The Command rank is boosted by doing everything there is to offer from story missions to PVP game modes. Increasing it will unlock fun little goodies like loot packs and even other Battleborn!! The Character rank on the other hand, is boosted by doing anything in the game with a specific character. This rank maxes out at 15 and elevating it unlocks changes of colour and different poses for your Battleborn.

There is also a level ranking system that is only activated in-game upon killing enemies or building structures and otherwise gaining experience points. This allows you to level up to a maximum of 10 levels giving you a choice between two or three augments that slightly alter the way your character behaves and fights the forces of Rendain.

Overall, Battleborn is a fantastic game with some flaws that for some can be a deal breaker but for a lot of gamers, it will be a refreshing change of pace and a game to escape into when hiding from your responsibilities. Cause who has time for worrying about uni or work when bashing and shooting your way through virtual terrain as a talking penguin in a mech suit.

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